Green reading has always been somewhat of a puzzle during 70 plus years of playing golf. It occurred a few weeks ago that perhaps the time was right to re-read, nurture the awareness, and understand Dave Pelz’s research and instruction about green reading in Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible (2000, New York, NY: Doubleday). The information that follows was drawn from a green reading journey mapped by the Putting Bible that details how and what to do to drain more putts.
EVERY PUTT IS A NEW EXPERIENCE and is an opportunity to expand awareness: as Dave Pelz notes, “If you understand more and better interpret the meaning of what your eyeballs take in from the greens, the more and better you can see the true break in putting.” (Pelz, 334) Every putt has logistical factors of distance and direction. A good putting experience requires effective and efficient green reading and consistent Pre-shot Routine and Ritual. Growing awareness differentiates good putters from poor putters.
GREEN-READING (Pelz, 142-178)
The skill of green-reading is making predictions for optimum ball tracks (optimum Aimline and optimum speed) that will find the hole.
Objective: To predict the highest probability for making a putt by determining the optimum ball track, the optimum Aimline (direction) and the optimum speed (governs distance) for every putt. The optimum ball track with an optimum Aimline allows putts rolled at the optimum speed to be holed at the highest percentage conditions allow.
*Ball speed is the number one principle in putting and is, on every putt, the one element that demands intense, inspired focus in the form of ball tracks (Aimline and speed) every time a golfer prepares to putt. Controlling speed is a learned skill and speed is 4X more important than line of putt. Learn about speed, reflect on it, become aware of it, understand it, sit with it, practice it and learn to control it. (Pelz, 179-192)
-Become proficient at predicting green speed
-Become proficient at slope recognition
-See visible break ball track, visible break apex and visible break apex distance
- Develop ability to visually move visible break apex distance to edge of hole
-Predict true break in putts (approximately 3X visible break apex distance)
-Predict optimum ball track
-Predict optimum Aimline
-Predict optimum ball speed: feel it and trust the subconscious to perform
TOUCH (Pelz, 302-343)…What needs to be done.
1. Place ball marker behind ball.
2. Move to a location at the side of the hole that permits visual examination within the six foot diameter around the hole. Look for the pure downhill direction in this circle and scrutinize the “lumpy donut” area uncovering potential footprints to be negotiated, noting any uphill in the donut hole and fixing any ball marks that need to be repaired.
3. Stand behind the hole on the extended ball-hole line and verify the downhill direction.
4. Stand behind the ball on the ball-hole line and validate the downhill direction.
5. Move a step downhill and visualize a perfect ball track rolling into the hole. Sense the amount of visible break on the ball track and make a mental note of the visible break apex distance.
6. Visually move the visible break apex distance out to the hole, multiply it by three (true break distance point), and move downhill until you are on the optimum true break Aimline (ball-true break point distance line) and you can sense the true-break ball track at the optimum 17 inches past the hole speed.
7. Align “line marked” golf ball with the sensed optimum Aimline. You are now ready to start the Pre-shot Routine.
The next blog will chat about Pre-Shot Routine and Ritual, including relaxed concentration experiences and discoveries. Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible is a work of art and science relative to the skill of putting. Awareness differentiates golfers; and if a golfer is open to learning, practice and improvement, Pelz’s genius can enable draining more putts.